Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Happy Autumn! Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love to see the colorful trees, smell the fallen leaves, hear the wind whistling through the branches, taste pumpkin flavored coffee and other goodies, and feel the cool, crisp autumn air on my face. It is a great time to be in Minnesota.
First, I want to send a huge THANK-YOU to all of you for supporting my trip to Honduras. I am very excited about being part of the wonderful relationship between the Honduras Lutheran Church and the Northeastern Minnesota synod. I am eager to return and share with you all about the things I learned and the people I met. I am especially interested in meeting the newly ordained Honduras pastors and participating in theological workshops and information sessions with them. I also want to reiterate that our congregation’s support of Honduras doesn’t take away from our historical mission support for Jamaica. We can do both.
Second, I want to update everyone on the shared ministry exploration meeting from Sept 20th between Messiah, Gethsemane and Our Savior’s councils with Pastor Amy Odgren who serves as the NE MN Synod Director for Evangelical Mission. It was a very positive and light-hearted meeting in which we reflected on our shared history of working and serving together primarily through youth education, youth ministry, social events, and worship. We discussed how we all share the same call to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our everyday lives, and we creatively imagined how we can live out our call with more collaboration from our ELCA neighbors.
The meeting concluded with the formation of a 9-person team (3 from each congregation) to continue discussions and exploration of possible Shared Ministry and staff utilization in the areas of youth programming, women’s missions, seasonal worship (Lent and summer midweek), occasional joint worship services, and community outreach. This team is scheduled to have their first meeting on October 23rd. If you would like to have personal input about these topics, I invite you into conversation with me. I am always available to you. Shared Ministry is the current focus. Currently, we are being very intentional that our purpose is to continue building closer relationships with our ELCA neighbors while combining participation in some similar programs and occasional worship services. Pr. Odgren was careful to differentiate Shared Ministry from other congregational combinations which are NOT being discussed at this time such as Merger (complete union through closure) and Consolidation (new entity through name change). The September 20th meeting showed that Messiah, Gethsemane, and Our Savior’s have a shared unity in Christ and many, many strengths to bring together for the sake of the communities we live in and serve, both here and beyond. The future is exciting, and it is very clear that the Holy Spirit is boldly leading all of us toward amazing things.
Thank you for being the person you are. You are a blessing to OSLC.
With Grace~ Pastor Erik